Tim Warwick’s remarkable journey of becoming a groundskeeper at Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.
Tim Warwick, Assistant Groundskeeper at Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C., has been around the Molineux Stadium for over seventeen years, but not always as a groundskeeper.
Working in the turfgrass industry wasn’t something that crossed Tim’s mind when he was young. His passion was automotive engineering, cars in particular, so it was no surprise that he chose to become a mechanic. After Tim received his Level 1 qualification he had a two month break before his Level 2 started. He looked for a temporary job and was offered a cleaning job at Molineux Stadium for a two week stint. That’s when his journey started. Eventually two weeks turned into two years, and two years turned into seventeen years.
“I started at the Molineux in 2004. When after two weeks, they told me I could keep the job, I decided to go for it. I needed the money badly at the time and the work wasn’t too bad so I stuck with it. Three years later I was still there.” Tim explains. By then the club was taken over by Steve Morgan, who wanted to get some work done outside of the stadium. “Steve needed someone to trim the hedges, empty the bins, cut the grass; that sort of work. After three years of cleaning, I thought it would be a nice change of scenery, so I put my hand up. That was my first ever experience in ground maintenance.”
Around the same time, Wayne Lumbard came on board as the new Grounds Manager and with Tim’s new role taking care of the stadium surroundings, Wayne also became his boss together with the cleaning manager. “I really enjoyed my new work outdoors. When the staff at the training ground was cut short, Wayne asked me to help them out over there. I wasn’t very experienced at ground maintenance yet, but I really appreciated the chance he gave me, so I put my head down and did the best I could.”
Tim’s dedication didn’t go unnoticed and Wayne offered him a chance to study Sports Turf Management. After a two year apprenticeship he started working full time as a grounds person at both the training ground and the stadium. When the club was sold to a new owner, significant investments were made in many of the club’s departments. The grounds staff grew which gave Tim and his two colleagues, Chris and Anthony, the opportunity to work at the Molineux Stadium permanently. Together they make a great team. “Everyone knows exactly what their task is, which makes cooperation very easy and the outcome even better, I believe.” A fantastic destination after a remarkable journey.
Ever since, Tim has learnt to deal with the pressure to maintain a Premier League pitch and he has witnessed a lot of developments within the industry. The investments that the club made in maintenance equipment, including the LU440 grow lights, are a big help. The lights are crucial for us, especially during the winter months. In the south end of the stadium we have to deal with a lot of shadow, so that doesn’t help much when you want to grow grass. The grow lights make this possible.”
Thinking back to the time that he was cleaning the stands and saw the groundskeepers working on the pitch from a distance, he never thought that one day he would join them. “I have never regretted the choices I made, including the cleaning job. That work deserves a lot more respect in my opinion. But of course, I’m happy with the steps I have taken over the years and I’m proud of where I’m today. It’s been a great journey so far.”
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